Following a global lockdown, society’s approach to work shifted seismically. Lenovo research found three out of four GenZers and Millennials felt more productive and inspired when working remotely. But it wasn’t all about personal gratification, 86% also expressed belief in using remote work to support the local community they’re working from, especially social and environmental issues. As a technology manufacturer and hybrid work facilitator, Lenovo received crucial insights, yet these audiences had rarely considered the brand. The brief challenged us to combine their desire for travel, work and communal good, while placing Lenovo centrally in the ‘work from anywhere’ movement.
With remote work, Lenovo saw an opportunity for technology to change how people work, for good in this new era. “WFH” now stands for something more - Work for Humankind. This bold initiative called on global volunteers to take part in a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity: work from one of the world’s most remote “offices,” while helping to save endangered wildlife and empower a local island community.
The landmark project took remote working to the extreme - sending volunteers to Robinson Crusoe Island, one of the most remote places in the world and a UNESCO designated biosphere reserve. Volunteers continued their day jobs remotely from the island while supporting the local community and environment in their spare time. Work for Humankind set out to make an impact both on the island and beyond through preventing the extinction of endangered species, transforming the island’s conservation efforts and changing the perception of hybrid working.
We researched the world’s most remote islands, landing on Robinson Crusoe Island located 700km off the coast of Chile and home to 900 people. . The island faced a number of challenges impacting the community and their environment. Many of the island’s endemic species were on the brink of extinction. In addition, the island’s internet and technological capabilities were virtually non-existent – leaving the island community isolated from the world. We imagined inviting people to work from Robinson Crusoe using Lenovo technology to create real social impact and a positive, long-lasting legacy for the local population. Our global campaign - Work for Humankind - was born.
We began building trust with critical stakeholders. We began with Robinson Crusoe’s mayor, who is responsible for its health, wellbeing and economic security, approved of the project delivering good for his people through sustainability, tourism, trade, employment, and education opportunities. Robinson Crusoe surpasses the Galapagos in species richness, but invasive animals threaten endemic species, including the particularly endangered pink-footed shearwater. Preserving the island’s fauna was key to Island Conservation approving the environmental good.
The island is under the jurisdiction of Island Conservation (IC), a nonprofit organization working to protect and preserve critically endangered species
With the mayor and IC on board, we searched for global volunteers to work their day jobs remotely, while supporting Robinson Crusoe’s local community and environment during down time. Launching across digital, social, organic, paid and earned media, we selected 16 volunteers out of 4,500 applicants. Participants included marine biologists, sustainability analysts and social media influencers – all possessing the critical skillsets and platforms needed to make Robinson Crusoe a sustainable and visible archipelago.
Understanding the needs of the mayor and IC helped determine the required technology for the project but getting it there and setting it up remained a problem. Multiple charter flights from Chile were secured to land on the island’s only strip runway. Full of the latest PCs, tablets, virtual reality headsets, e-learning software and an AI server, Lenovo technicians built a state-of-the-art tech hub in four weeks. We upgraded the island’s internet capability with support from Elon Musk’s Starlink satellite system, making it over 200 times faster.
With our participants, technology and the island population invested as equal partners, the project blossomed. Working with sustainability changemaker Sophia Bush, our immersive storytelling spotlighted Work for Humankind’s ambition. Our partnership with Group 9 (Thrillist/Seeker) amplified the campaign to our Gen Z and young Millennial audience.
Work for Humankind was a mammoth success, by breaking boundaries in both global reach and positive impact on the local community. On Robinson Crusoe, the impact of this campaign was designed to be felt for years to come.
Conservation and Community outcomes:
Lenovo AI server doubled the speed of processing camera trap data to 415,000 photos per day – a critical part of the species conservation tactic of Island Conservation
Established two permanent greenhouses for the community to learn to grow their own crops
Hosted 13 skill-sharing workshops with 100 community members who learned about animal welfare and using digital tools to help the island engage with the outside world, enabling economic and tourism opportunities that didn’t previously exist
1,000 volunteering hours donated over eight weeks, which included submitting two grant forms to fund conservation works and five professional analyses of existing infrastructures
Island Conservation has been invited to present the project to the UN’s World Ocean Summit in 2023, as a blueprint for good to be replicated across other endangered archipelagos
Across the three quarters in which Work For Humankind was activated, Lenovo increased its thought leadership article count by an average of 76% YoY and its SOV among core competitors by 11.5% YoY
2,038 pieces of global, earned coverage with 3.6 billion, total impressions
295.8M paid media impressions and 13.3M video views
4,500 applications and 230k+ visits to the Work For Humankind website
5.26M Group Nine content impressions and 1.24M Group Nine content video views